Best people will flee Yorkshire if fracking goes ahead, says businessman

Protesters outside County Hall in NorthallertonProtesters outside County Hall in Northallerton
Protesters outside County Hall in Northallerton
A LOCAL businessman has warned North Yorkshire could suffer a brain drain if a plan to frack is given the go-ahead today.

Kyle Boote, who runs the Helmsley Brewing Company, told county councillors the green light for the plan would see people like him reconsider their futures in the area.

He was speaking at the start of the second day of a planning hearing in Northallerton to decide whether Third Energy should be given permission to use the controversial mining method at a site in Ryedale.

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Mr Boot told the committee: “As the father of a three-year-old, I have major well-researched concerns about fracking and would probably reconsider our future here should fracking go-ahead.

“I’m sure that I won’t be alone and suspect that it would be the most educated, the most employable, and most enterprising people who will leave which will be disastrous for the local economy and for the community.”

Mr Boot expressed concern about Ryedale being known as a “fracking capital of the UK” and the possible impact on tourism and other local industries.

He added: “Our beers have been branded to convey the unique character of our area and will not seem so appealing should our region become synonymous with fracking.

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“In business as in all things, perception is often reality. But what if the worst happens? People will definitely not want to visit or buy from producers in areas where there have been environmental problems.

“The short and long term impact on local tourism and farming will be profounding negative with both new and long-established businesses ruined.”

The meeting in Northallerton is being closely watched nationally because of the controversy surrounding fracking and the energy industry's difficulty securing planning permission to use the method.

Cuadrilla had two applications to frack in Lancashire rejected last year. The company has appealed against the decisions.

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On Friday, more than 70 people spoke against the proposal and more followed this morning.

This afternoon, Third Energy and other supporters of the application will have the chance to put their case to the 11-strong committee.

Planning officer Vicky Perkin is expected to take two hours to advise the committee this afternoon before members begin their deliberations.

A decision is expected to be reached at around 7.30pm.